Bookmakers’ Paddy Power, William Hill and Ladbrokes have confirmed to the Northern Ireland Assembly that they will voluntarily reduce wagering on fixed-odds-betting-terminals (FOBTs) to a £2 limit, mirroring upcoming retail restrictions across England, Wales and Scotland.
Preparing for FOBTs restrictions enforced from 1 April 2019, the bookmakers state that they will apply the UK regulatory policy across all active retail premises, regardless of any separate national gambling regulatory mandate.
Northern Ireland’s gambling industry is governed by the regulatory code of the ‘1985 NI Order for Betting, Gaming, Lotteries & Amusements’, which has not updated FOBTs policies, meaning that bookmakers did not have to follow UK government sanctioned Gambling Act legislation on FOBTs reductions.
Nevertheless, last November Ladbrokes retail management confirmed that it would implement a uniformed FOBTs policy across its entire UK portfolio, reducing FOBTs stakes from £100-t-£2.
Entering 2019, Belfast City Council tabled a motion proposed by Cllr Dr John Kyle urging all Northern Ireland retail bookmakers to follow Ladbrokes suite and commit to £2 wagering limit on FOBTs and B2 Machine wagering.